St. Norbert Falls to Carthage in Five at NCAA Opener

From Sports Information Director, November 13, 2008 | Volleyball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

OSHKOSH - Carthage College, ranked No. 10 in the NCAA Division III, defeated St. Norbert College 26-24, 23-25, 25-21, 17-25, 15-6 in a first-round match of the NCAA Division III Midwest Regional at UW-Oshkosh's Kolf Sports Center.

St. Norbert finished the season 30-4 after falling to the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin champion. Carthage (31-3) advances to play UW-Whitewater in the second round.

After the two teams split the first four sets, a heavy-hitting Carthage team changed up its offense and went with soft attacks that found open spots on the floor close to the net. The Lady Reds used that change in strategy to take a 7-2 lead. Following a timeout, St. Norbert would stay within 8-4 but Carthage would go on a 4-0 run for a 12-4 lead to seal the match.

"We did what we needed to do to compete," first-year St. Norbert coach Bethani Thibodeau said. "We were intense and came out with a lot of determination. We opened a lot of peoples eyes after being overlooked most of the season."

St. Norbert came out strong to start the match, taking a 6-0 lead in the first set. The Lady Reds worked their way back into the match but St. Norbert still held a 21-20 advantage. Carthage would go on a 4-0 run to take a 24-21 lead. St. Norbert rallied to tie the set at 24-24 but Carthage closed out the set with the last two points.

Carthage held the early lead in the second set and led 19-17 before the Green Knights charged back with a 5-0 run to take a 22-19 lead. Carthage cut it to 22-21 before St. Norbert went ahead 24-21. The Lady Reds cut it to 24-23 before St. Norbert scored the last point.

The third set was tied at 19-19 before Carthage took leads of 22-20 and 24-21. In the fourth set, St. Norbert led 16-15 before pushing out to leads of 20-15 and 24-16. The Green Knights hit .333 in the fourth set.

But it was all Carthage in the decisive fifth set, with the Lady Reds hitting .348 with nine kills and one assist in 23 attacks.

St. Norbert hit .148 for the match, getting 50 kills with 23 errors in 183 attempts. Katie Casebolt and Sam Jungbluth each had 14 kills. Laura Ayello had 39 assists, while Kim Angst added 20 digs from the back row. Jungbluth had five blocks and Sarah Sulentic had four.

Carthage hit .212 in the match, getting 65 kills with 22 errors in 203 attempts. Michelle Madeja had 13 kills to pace the Lady Reds. Drewann Pancratz had 28 assists. Katie Lundgren had 34 kills, while Jordan Burkholder had eight blocks.

The loss closed out the career of three St. Norbert seniors - Mamayek, Casebolt and Danielle DeGroot.

"They were great leads and we have some big shoes to fill next year," Thibodeau said. "They welcomed me into St. Norbert and they were the heart and soul of our team this year."